Tuesday, April 20, 2010


Have you ever read the classic My Utmost For His Highest by Oswald Chambers? I recall owning a copy in high school, but not sure I read it completely. A little over a year ago I saw it in the bargain area of Berean Christian Bookstore and bought it again.

And it sat on my bookcase along with a book of quotes by Mr. Chambers.

I'm not really a devotional book person, I own several but most disappoint. Most are even touted and designed for the busy person and come in prepackaged, little 2 minute snippets purposely so you'll actually read them daily. Who doesn't have 2 or 5 minutes to devote to turning one's attention to God?

Yet in the past I've failed. I have bought at least three separate "minute style" devotionals yet I don't think I've completed even one. I think the devotional market exists for those that (at least think) want to learn and be closer to God and yet, don't really know how. We know we're supposed to pray and read and think about God in our daily life but still struggling on making it happen and the best way to get there.

If you type in "minute devotionals" on Amazon, you'll discover over 200 listed, written and marketed to every type of person: teens, businessmen, businesswomen, busy moms (does "busy" really have to be stated? If you are a mom, you are busy!) One Year Love Language devotional, devotionals to do together before you go on a date, busy Christians devotional, devotions for kids, for couples.... I could go on. If you just type in "devotionals" it comes up with over 20,000 titles!

Whether it be one minute or fifteen minutes, I know for me I've always wanted something out of it: To be closer to Christ, to know him, to have a better life. Some of these are even good things, but is it compelling enough to keep me to even complete a year of "one minute" devotions? Is anything compelling to keep one excited about seeking God in Scripture and prayer? Is it all duty or does it ever become delight?

For me, I do wonder if I'm drawn to hoping that if I just buy THIS book about God I'll understand, or THIS devotional I'll become wise and love God more. It is easier to spend the fifteen dollars on a shiny book that promises riches in God than it is to actually follow Him in word and deed.

That said, I think devotionals have a place; it's just that for me personally a new book/devotional always seems to start with an ideal that I'm going to grow and be faithful. (In just a minute a day!) Yet in about 24 days that newness and zeal begin to wane and I find that I don't even have a minute a day to devote to God.

Such a sad reality, yet I wonder how many others can relate?

Or maybe, with new technology, you are actually succeeding. Perhaps you get a daily Facebook devotional. Perhaps you get an email so all you have to do is take a minute out of your day to read the email and voila! A better life in Christ, in just a minute a day. Without a book to buy, without having to open your Bible or even a devotional. Just a quick email or Facebook reminder.

Don't get me wrong; any effort is better than no effort. But is it even effort? Should it be an effort? Truthfully, I don't know. Is it just a decision of the will to pursue God? Does it "count" if it is done out of duty? Do I look for the easy way out? Do I want the benefits of God without the sacrifice, even the "sacrifice" of 1, 5 or 15 minutes out of my day to seek God and meditate on His word? Should this ritual of devotionals be a "sacrifice"? Should it be relegated to a ritual at all?

Isn't it ironic that they are called "devotionals" when I have reduced devotion to a minute a day?

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